[OPE-L:192] RE: the book on wage labor

James Devine (JDevine@lmumail.lmu.edu)
Tue, 3 Oct 1995 12:21:47 -0700

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Gil writes: >>For what it's worth, I agree with Mike L. that in
effect a book on wage labor is "missing" from the Marxian canon,
in the sense that issues central to the logic of capitalist
exploitation are left begging. <<

Just a point of clarification (about something I was initially
confused about): It's not that the "book on wage labor" is
missing from the "Marxian canon." Rather, Mike's point is that it
was left out of the book CAPITAL. Mike's book quotes a heck of a
lot of material from Marx's _other_ writings (especially the
GRUNDRISSE) which can form a "book on wage labor." (BTW, I
highly recommend that OPE folks read Mike's book.)

BTW, working at a Catholic college as I do, I tend to interpret
the word "canon" in a way that fits the first parts of my
Webster's College Dictionary's definition: "a regulation or dogma
decreed by a church council"; "the most solemn and unvarying part
of the Mass, including the consecration of the bread and wine";
"an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture"; "the
authentic books of an author"; "an accepted principle or rule";
"a criterion or standard of judgement"; and "a body of
principles, rules, standards, or norms."

Thus I don't think that there is or ever has been a "Marxist
canon" in this sense (there is no one book the way that Varian's
micro theory book is the canon of neoclassical microeconomics).
Kautsky tried to be the "pope of Marxism," as did Stalin, with
the latter putting more of a religious overtone on his canon (and
backing it with cannons). But, as suggested by Howard and King's
recent two-volume set on the history of Marxian economics (which
is quite critical of Marxism in many ways), Marxism has always
been a _debate_. To the extent that there is an "orthodoxy," it
is methodological (cf. Lukacs) rather than being a set of
substantive propositions (a dogma).

up a canyon without a paddle,

Jim Devine jdevine@lmumail.lmu.edu
Econ. Dept., Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles, CA 90045-2699 USA
310/338-2948 (daytime, during workweek); FAX: 310/338-1950
"It takes a busload of faith to get by." -- Lou Reed.